Former West Indies fast bowler Tony Gray believes the Australia series could be make or break for veteran batsman Chris Gayle, insisting he would give him just another two games to turn things around, if he were on the panel of selectors.

The 41-year-old Gayle has struggled to make a positive impact with the bat since being recalled to the team in February of this year, after two years away from the squad.

The batsman's selection to the preliminary World Cup squad has proven to be a source of controversy with opinion sharply split into two camps.  On one hand, many believe the batsman's ability to change a game within a few deliveries continues to make him an indispensable asset heading into the tournament, others point to his decline in explosiveness and fitness as evidence that the spot should be taken up a younger player.

His performances so far have done little to make a strong case for his inclusion.  In eight matches, against Sri Lanka, South Africa, and Australia, Gayle has averaged 12.71, with a combined 89 runs, and has a highest score of 31.  In addition, the batsman has a strike rate of 94.68, well below his career average of 139.71.

Speaking just before the start of the Australia series, Gray suggested the batsman could be running out of time to repay the faith of the selectors.

“I think initially the selectors did a good job of picking this T20 squad.  You have to give Chris Gayle the chance to show he has some kind of form, but if he is getting the opportunity and not firing, I would not pick him,” Gray told the Mason and Guest radio show.

Gayle is the all-time leading runs scorer for the West Indies in T20 international cricket, having scored 1716 in 66 matches.

"I think they need to have a serious word with Chris Gayle in the sense that he is 41 years old now, and obviously they have to have some sort of system where they say to Chris Gayle that 'we're giving you about nine games,'" Gray said.

"If you're not firing for nine games, then the remaining games before the World Cup, we have to give a young player', so that's the sort of system they need with Chris Gayle,” he added.

"If he doesn't fire against Australia for the first two games, I'm not taking him to the World Cup. That would be seven games - against Sri Lanka and South Africa - and the next two games would be nine games, he had an opportunity to fire.”

Gayle made just 4 runs in the opening match against Australia on Friday.

 

 

West Indies took six Australia wickets for just 19 runs as the hosts secured victory in the sides' T20 opener.

The Windies put on 145-6 in St Lucia, where Obed McCoy and Hayden Walsh did most of the damage with the ball in an 18-run triumph.

Andre Russell's maiden half-century was also a telling contribution in what was a fifth win in six for the Windies against Australia in this format

Australia had looked in good shape after restricting the home side to 35-3 off 7.4 overs, but Russell's 51 came from 28 deliveries to help his side to a credible total.

The tourists lost the dangerous Aaron Finch in the second over of their response before rallying to reach 108-4 at just past the midway point.

With Australia firmly on track for the win, the Windies needed something special and it was McCoy and Walsh who produced the goods.

Wickets tumbled as McCoy took 4-26 and Walsh claimed 3-23, with seven of Australia's batting order limited to a single-figure contribution in an innings where they were all out for 127 in 16 overs.

THE REAL MCCOY

It was a devastating spell with the ball for McCoy, who accounted for Josh Philippe, Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.

But it wasn't just his wicket-taking that impressed, with McCoy suppressing Australia's run rate by delivering 13 dot balls in a man-of-the-match display.

"It feels great," said McCoy. "I've been working really hard. It was just all about execution and sticking to the team plan.

"Normally on that surface the ball has nice bounce and carry but I was just trying to mix up my pace as much as I can."

NO EXCUSES FROM FINCH

Australia captain Finch offered no excuses for what was a shocking collapse from his side.

Finch admitted his team needed to show a little more intelligence in their approach.

He said: "We've been working on trying to be a little more aggressive in the middle overs but maybe just need to rein it in and have some more smarts.

"I thought the wicket played a little better batting second. There's no excuses for our batting display there.

"You've got to dust yourselves off and come again with the same attitude but just execute a little bit better under pressure."

The Cricket West Indies Selection Panel has announced the 14-member squad for the first of the five-match CG Insurance T20 International (T20I) series against Australia. The match will be played under lights at the Daren Sammy Cricket Stadium on Friday, July 9 with the first ball at 7:30 pm (6:30 pm Jamaica Time).

Leg-spinner Hayden Walsh Jr has been named in the match-day squad while all-rounder Fabian Allen returns from an injury sustained in the recent series against South Africa. All-rounder Jason Holder is being rested for this series as part of his workload management, and he is expected to feature in upcoming One-Day Internationals and Test matches.

Roger Harper, Lead Selector said: “Hayden Walsh Jr adds variety and another wicket-taking option, while Fabian Allen, who was unavailable for the last game because of injury, returns. Considering the opposition, it is important that the team plays well in all departments, especially the batting, which needs to deliver more consistently.”

This CG Insurance T20I Series forms part of the West Indies’ World Cup preparation with a total of 15 T20Is to be played across three months in the build-up to the ICC T20 World Cup to be played from October 17 to November 14 in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

Fans in the Caribbean can watch exclusively live on Flow Sports or via the Flow Sports app. West Indies fans can also follow live ball-by-ball scoring in the www.windiescricket.com live match centre, featuring the new live match blog. Live radio commentary is available on a number of radio stations across the Caribbean and available worldwide, except in India and Bangladesh, on the Windies Cricket YouTube channel.

Fans in Australia can follow this match and the entire West Indies vs Australia CG Insurance T20I and ODI Series live on Foxtel’s Fox Cricket channel as well as via live stream on Kayo Sports.

Fully vaccinated patrons will be able to buy tickets for the series from the stadium ticket office at the East Gate on presentation of their vaccination documentation and their national ID, with tickets available at EC$50 per match. A three-match ticket promotion is available for just EC$120, with a special Series five-match season ticket special at EC$200.

FULL SQUAD: Kieron Pollard (Captain), Nicholas Pooran (Vice-Captain), Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Fidel Edwards, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons, and Hayden Walsh Jr.

Travelling Reserves: Akeal Hosein, Kevin Sinclair, and Oshane Thomas.

As the West Indies heads into their five-match T20 series against Australia, white-ball captain Kieron Pollard has conceded that the team struggles with rotating the strike but says they are constantly working to resolve the problem.

The Cricket West Indies (CWI) Selection Panel announced the West Indies squad for the CG Insurance One-Day International (ODI) Series against Australia. The squad features most of the players from the 3-0 clean sweep over Sri Lanka in the CG Insurance ODI Series earlier this year.

There are recalls for experienced left-arm fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell; Shimron Hetmyer, the left-handed top-order batsman; and Roston Chase, the right-handed all-rounder.

The CG Insurance ODI Series will be played at Kensington Oval in Barbados on July 20, 22 and 24 with all three matches scheduled as day/night encounters. The first ball is 2:30 pm (1:30 pm Jamaica Time). There is great anticipation as this is Australia’s first tour of the West Indies since the tri-nation series back in 2016.

The series forms part of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) ODI Super League where both teams are aiming to win points to be one of the top seven teams that will secure automatic qualification for the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup in India.

“This squad is coming off a comprehensive series win against Sri Lanka which should boost their confidence going into what is expected to be a tougher contest against Australia. The return of Shimron Hetmyer, Roston Chase and Sheldon Cottrell adds greater depth and experience to the squad,” said Roger Harper, CWI's Chief Selector.

“Playing in familiar home conditions, hopefully, will bring out the best in each player thereby enabling the team to perform at a consistently high standard. This CG Insurance ODI series against Australia is part of the ICC Cricket World Cup qualification process where every game and every point counts, so it is very important.”

FULL SQUAD: Kieron Pollard (Captain), Shai Hope (Vice-Captain), Fabian Allen, Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Anderson Philip, Nicholas Pooran and Romario Shepherd.

 

France suffered a heartbreaking late 23-21 defeat to the Wallabies in the first Test as their 32-year wait for an away win over Australia goes on.

Les Bleus travelled to Suncorp Stadium knowing history was against them, France's last away win over Australia having come 11,330 days ago on June 30, 1990.

But a pair of tries from Gabin Villiere put France in command, with Australia unable to respond until Brandon Paenga-Amosa went over in the 34th minute to make it a 15-7 half-time deficit.

Noah Lolesio reduced the gap to five points from the tee and his second penalty sandwiched three-pointers from Louis Carbonel and Melvyn Jaminet to keep the Wallabies in touch.

Australia captain Michael Hooper backed over the line nine minutes from time and Lolesio knocked over a simple conversion to fray France nerves as they were left to nurse a one-point advantage.

Lolesio had the chance to be the hero in the 77th minute but his drop goal drifted wide of the right-hand upright.

It looked as if Australia's chance had gone but France inexplicably failed to get the ball out of play from a lineout with the clock in the red, conceding possession and allowing Australia to earn a decisive penalty that Lolesio converted from in front of the posts.

Former Australia international Israel Folau has switched codes again to join Japanese Top League side NTT Communications.

Folau was released from the remainder of his contract with Catalans Dragons in June so he could remain in Australia due to a personal family situation.

The 32-year-old joined the Super League club last year and had signed a new deal to continue in France for the 2021 season.

Folau was registered to play for the Southport Tigers in the Rugby League Gold Coast competition last week following his release by Catalans.

Catalans chairman Bernard Guasch said: "Israel has been great with us in 2020 both on and off the field and we wanted to facilitate the negotiations to reach an agreement.

"He told us his desire to play alongside his two brothers [for the Tigers] and we didn't want to prevent him. We wish him all the best in the next chapter of his career."

Folau is on the move again, however, after NTT Communications confirmed his return to rugby union on Monday.

He will play under Rob Penney, who has been appointed as director of rugby after being sacked by the Waratahs in March.

Rugby Australia terminated Folau's contract in 2019 for a "high-level breach" after he posted hell awaits "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters" on Instagram.

Jake Gordon will return from a knee injury scare to start for the Wallabies against France in the first Test in Brisbane on Wednesday. 

The Waratahs captain is set to line up alongside Noah Lolesio in the halves with Nic White and James O'Connor ruled out due to injury. 

Few would have predicted Gordon would don the Australia number nine jersey so soon after he left late in a defeat to the Highlanders last month with what was initially feared to be an anterior cruciate ligament injury. 

Yet he was able to make a quick recovery after scans revealed only minor damage to his medial collateral ligament, opening the door for his first Wallabies start since his debut against Italy back in 2018.

Up front, Lolesio's Brumbies team-mates James Slipper and Allan Alaalatoa are the starting props and Brandon Paenga-Amosa was named at hooker by head coach Dave Rennie.

Matt Philip and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto are in the second row, with Rob Valetini to make his first start for the Wallabies at blindside flanker, captain Michael Hooper in the number seven shirt and Harry Wilson at number eight.

Veteran Matt Toomua is at number 12 alongside Hunter Paisami.

The back three features Marika Koroibete and the Brumbies pairing of Tom Wright and Tom Banks.

"The whole squad has been training really hard over the past three weeks to prepare for what’s going to be an exciting, tough series against the French," Rennie said.

"We’ve always selected a side based on earning the right to wear the jersey and this team is no different.

"The whole group is excited to be back playing Test rugby in front of our families and supporters and we’re looking to start the year with a positive result at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.”

Australia have won their past 11 at home against France dating back to a 1990 loss in Brisbane.


Australia: Tom Banks Tom Wright, Hunter Paisami, Matt Toomua, Marika Koroibete, Noah Lolesio, Jake Gordon; James Slipper, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Allan Alaalatoa, Matt Philip, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Rob Valenti, Michael Hooper, Harry Wilson.

Replacements: Lachlan Lonergan, Angus Bell, Taniela Tupou, Darcy Swain, Isi Naisarani, Tate McDermott, Len Ikitau, Andrew Kellaway.

Ange Postecoglou changed the landscape of Australian football and now the trailblazer is tasked with leading an embattled Celtic back to the Scottish summit, having been dethroned by bitter rivals Rangers.

Postecoglou – cut from the same cloth as Pep Guardiola and Maurizio Sarri – was appointed by Celtic last month amid some backlash in Scotland, but Bhoys fans are slowly starting to get an idea of why the former Australia manager is so highly rated.

With an emphasis on a high-octane style of attacking football and unrelenting belief in his philosophy, Postecoglou is the most decorated coach in Australian football history.

From South Melbourne to Australia and Japan, Postecoglou has won it all – a pair of National Soccer League championships, back-to-back A-League titles, a record 36-match unbeaten streak at Brisbane Roar, plus a ground-breaking 2015 Asian Cup triumph with the Socceroos and a J1 League crown with Yokohama F.Marinos - while silencing his doubters.

With fellow Australian Arthur Papas by his side in Yokohama, Postecoglou ended F.Marinos' 15-year wait for league glory in 2019.

As Postecoglou embarks on the biggest job an Australian coach has held in football, former assistant Papas – now in charge of A-League side Newcastle Jets – told Stats Perform: "It's a great achievement to be given a position of such stature.

"I'm ecstatic for Ange because the path to success is never a straight line. That is for everyone. The main thing is he's been consistent. Consistent in who he is as a person, how he approaches his work and what he believes in - and he believes in himself a lot.

"He is incredibly humble and hardworking, and full of self-belief. But he knows it's a big job, a difficult job. Celtic are another team who have fallen away in recent times and the pressure is immense, but I do think that's when he is at his best. He thrives under those conditions. It's a challenge after being so successful in Japan."

Postecoglou left F.Marinos with the highest winning percentage (49.2 – 58 victories in 118 games) in the history of the club. Since joining the Yokohama outfit, only two managers have a better winning percentage than Postecoglou from a minimum of 10 games: Toru Oniki (65) and Go Oiwa (50).

Despite the language barrier, F.Marinos bought into the Postecoglou way. Since 2018, the team ranked first for passing accuracy (86.5 per cent) and possession (63.2 per cent), while they were second for goals per game (1.9), expected goals per game (1.8), shots per game (15.2), shots on target per game (5.3), shot conversion rate (12.6), shooting accuracy (47.2), chances created per game (11.4), passes per game (619.4), passing accuracy in opposition half (82.4), big chance total per game (2.4), big chances created per game (1.8) and big chances scored per game (1.1).

Papas, who spent two seasons with Postecoglou at F.Marinos, added: "It's been well-documented the success in Japan but not really understood how difficult it is. People have asked me, for example, how will I deal with the pressure of being an A-League coach? I feel like saying, being in a country where not one player or staff speaks English and still getting a football message across and seeing it come to life so quickly, has more difficulty than maybe coming back here.

"Every job will have its challenge in the end. The main thing is [Celtic] have got themselves a world-class manager. A manager with a very clear philosophy and someone given the time, like every manager needs. Some use that time extremely well and you see progression, and others unfortunately – because the path isn't so clear, doesn't go that way. But given the time, he will be successful there for sure. He will be successful in his own unique way.

"Then, there will be another step after that because that's just Ange. He doesn't settle for that place and get comfortable. When he has had a bit of success, he wants more. That's why he is special at what he does."

Postecoglou, like Manchester City's Guardiola and former Chelsea and Juventus boss Sarri, pushes the boundaries. Firmly set in his belief of how football should be played, Postecoglou's approach never waivers and success follows the 55-year-old in his pursuit of excellence.

Asked about some of the initial negativity after Postecoglou's arrival at Celtic, Papas said: "Australian coaches, unfortunately, don't get start-up respect regardless, so there's always going to be someone that doubts you. What is important, is what you believe in about yourself.

"The thing is, he is so supremely confident in himself that it won't phase him. He knows it's just part of the challenge of where we are from and where we're going. He is a firm believer of it, we as Australian coaches probably get underestimated because of our passport not because of our competency. Having experiences across Asia, you see things and you're like wow.

"The passport unfortunately doesn't carry a lot of weight and definitely carries a lot of criticism at times, but he believes in himself.

 

"He will go there, it will take some time to engrain his ideas but there's no doubt they have a world-class manager that will turn that place upside down and get them on the right path."

During F.Marinos' triumphant season in 2019, Postecoglou's men covered the greatest distance in the J1 League (116.48km), ahead of Oita Trinita (114.79km). They also tallied the most total sprints with 191, more than FC Tokyo (174).

"Ange is the type that scours through every bit of information. If you're a staff member there, you need to be on top of everything because you'll get questioned at times about 'what was the data on this?', 'what were the statistics on this player?' He is obsessed with his work," Papas added.

"It doesn't matter how time progresses; he is just as obsessed as he's ever been in terms of details. There's a lot of work to get that engine going in the background to run that program in a way that he feels befits a world-class program."

Postecoglou oversaw a rebuild at the Roar and after asking to be judged a year from the time he replaced ex-Socceroos boss Frank Farina, his project culminated in the development of arguably the greatest footballing side the country had ever seen.

Playing an entertaining and possession-based brand of football, the Roar won the championship in 2010-11 and successfully defended their trophy the following season amid a 36-game unbeaten streak – an all-time Australian football code record for the longest undefeated run, surpassing rugby league outfit Eastern Suburbs' record set 74 years prior.

Postecoglou also coached Melbourne Victory before his Australia appointment in 2013. In the A-League, his teams scored 1.7 goals per game; only one head coach (minimum 30 games) has a higher average in the competition's history (Graham Arnold - 1.8).

The Greece-born boss left Australia's domestic competition with a 51 per cent win percentage as head coach – the joint-fifth best of any manager in the competition's history.

Named Australia boss in 2013, Postecoglou led Australia at the 2014 World Cup, conquered the Asian Cup the following year and also secured their position at Russia 2018 before stepping down. The Socceroos scored 86 goals in A-Internationals under Postecoglou – the second most they have scored under any manager since the beginning of 1965 (Frank Farina - 197).

Australia won 22 games during his tenure; only two managers have won more since the beginning of 1965 (Frank Farina - 34 and Holger Osieck - 23).

"I don't believe there is a certain timeline and it clicks," Papas said. "The process starts from day one and it's more about what is around you to implement that. Certain positions, you can go in and have the ability to make certain changes early on, which might fast track that progression. The only thing is that it's something that always grows and gets better. Because it's such a clear way of working and style of play that you're constantly working on everyday getting better at doing that.

"It's not, this week we're going to change it and sit back, these messages are so consistent that it just becomes something you get stronger at over time but that's why it takes a bit of time also. It's not a situational philosophy, it's a very clearly-defined progressive philosophy that has clarity and certain principles/frameworks that get reinforced on a daily basis."

Several top Australian cricketers including Pat Cummins, Marcus Stoinis and David Warner, have withdrawn from the white-ball tour of the West Indies, Cricket Australia has announced.

In addition, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, and Daniel Sams have also requested that they not be considered for the tours of the West Indies and Bangladesh for various reasons.

"We are naturally disappointed not to have all players available for the Australian team at this time however the National Selection Panel respects the decisions of those who have opted out of this tour," said head selector Trevor Hohns.

“Steve Smith was unavailable for selection due to an elbow injury and will now be able to use this time to fully recover ahead of the World Cup and home Ashes Series. Steve was disappointed to miss the tour with the decision made on medical grounds. International tours in the time of Covid-19 undoubtedly present many additional challenges for athletes.

"They also present opportunities for others and, in this case, the chance to push for selection in the Australian men’s T20 World Cup squad later this year and beyond. This is a great chance for these players to make a case for the World Cup and all are considered very real prospects of making that tournament by performing well across these tours.”

The 18-man squad comprises Aaron Finch (c) (Victoria), Ashton Agar (Western Australia), Wes Agar (South Australia), Jason Behrendorff (Western Australia), Alex Carey (South Australia), Dan Christian (New South Wales), Josh Hazlewood (New South Wales), Moises Henriques (New South Wales), Mitchell Marsh (Western Australia), Riley Meredith (Tasmania), Ben McDermott (Tasmania), Josh Philippe (Western Australia), Mitchell Starc (New South Wales), Mitchell Swepson (Queensland), Ashton Turner (Western Australia), Andrew Tye (Western Australia), Matthew Wade (Tasmania), and Adam Zampa (New South Wales).

"The biggest trouble with Celtic is trying to keep hold of Ange. In three or four years, you're going to have the same situation. He has won multiple titles and he will be trying to get a move to England or one of the big leagues. That is his pathway."

Ange Postecoglou is cut from the same cloth as Pep Guardiola and Maurizio Sarri – an emphasis on a high-octane style of attacking football, with an unrelenting belief in their philosophy.

But his appointment as Celtic manager has caused a stir in Scotland. Fans have questioned his ability and credibility to make the step from Asian to European football.

Postecoglou has been tasked with leading an embattled Celtic back to the Scottish summit after the Bhoys were dethroned by bitter rivals Rangers in 2020-21.

There are some parallels to legendary manager Arsene Wenger. Like Postecoglou, the Frenchman had history in Japan, having spent a year with Nagoya Grampus before being brought to the UK by Arsenal in 1996.

Social media was not around at the time of Wenger's Gunners arrival, though it would be safe to assume he would have been subjected to similar criticism from a supporter base desperate to wrestle the trophy back to Celtic Park.

Those questioning Postecoglou's pedigree should look no further than his CV – the most decorated coach in Australian football history, having also transcended and changed the landscape of the sport Down Under.

From South Melbourne to Australia and Japan, Postecoglou has won it all – a pair of National Soccer League championships, back-to-back A-League titles, a record 36-match unbeaten streak at Brisbane Roar, plus a ground-breaking 2015 Asian Cup triumph with the Socceroos and a J1 League crown with Yokohama F.Marinos, while silencing his doubters.

A former Australia international, Postecoglou – who delivered two NSL trophies within three years of his tenure in charge of boyhood club South Melbourne – truly announced himself at the helm of 'Roarcelona'.

After a brief and unsuccessful stint in Greece in 2008, followed by a short spell in the semi-professional state league in Victoria which resulted in relegation, Postecoglou landed in Brisbane the following year.

Postecoglou oversaw a rebuild and after asking to be judged a year from the time he replaced ex-Socceroos boss Frank Farina, his project culminated in the development of arguably the greatest footballing side in the history of Australian football.

Playing an entertaining and possession-based brand of football, the Roar won the championship in 2010-11 and successfully defended their trophy the following season amid a 36-game unbeaten streak – an all-time Australian football code record for the longest undefeated run, surpassing rugby league outfit Eastern Suburbs' record set 74 years prior.

Postecoglou also coached Melbourne Victory before his Australia appointment in 2013. In the A-League, his teams scored 1.7 goals per game; only one head coach (minimum 30 games) has a higher average in the competition's history (Graham Arnold - 1.8).

The Greek-born boss left Australia's domestic competition with a 51 per cent win percentage as head coach – the joint-fifth best of any manager in the competition's history.

Erik Paartalu was one of Postecoglou's first signings as Roar coach and the ex-Australia international told Stats Perform: "He will be absolutely buzzing. He isn't the type to take a job on lightly. He would've researched beforehand. I'm sure he's probably been offered jobs of this calibre before but wasn't ready.

"Ange has always been ambitious. This guy just doesn't stop. Any other Australian coach that would've won the J.League would've just stopped there and chilled out in Asia. The guy is in his mid-50s. He would've researched this whole situation at Celtic, who is leaving and who is coming, who can I get in? I know he's already thought about his next step from here."

"With Ange, it was the tactical side of it where he explained and broke things down so easily on the pitch, whether that be playing 11-v-seven, so you would have a huge overload and confidence in possession. Or if it was in a video session, always pointing out the good things about people," said Paartalu as he reflected on his Roar days. "He always pumped up the smaller details of the team. His way to getting us to feel, you just felt so confident."

Postecoglou, like Manchester City's Guardiola and former Chelsea and Juventus boss Sarri, pushes the boundaries. Firmly set in his belief of how football should be played, Postecoglou's approach never waivers and success follows the 55-year-old in his pursuit of excellence.

"That's what we loved about him," Postecoglou said. "We went on that unbeaten streak and then lost five in a row. Never even mentioned getting close to the record. It was just like 'if we play the way we play, we'll wipe this team off the park'.

"In the first grand final [2011 against Central Coast Mariners], the goal I scored in the last couple of seconds [of extra time, 120th minute to force penalties after 2-2 draw], it was the build-up before that showed everything that we're about. [Michael] Theo had the ball and could've gone long, but he throws it to [Massimo] Murdocca and we build up from the back and get a corner. That was so typical of the way he wanted us to play. Even in training, it was like, 'don't put the ball above waist height or in the air'. If you did that, you had to give the ball to the other team. So we were drilled into knowing short passes, through lines, everyone in the right position, movement off the ball, entry points on the edge of the box, guys overlapping, 4-3-3 and don't cross the ball in if you're not sure. That was his blueprint. We were going to play his way all the way to the death. When we lost five in a row, he never got angry. He was so clear, saying keep doing it, be confident, keeping passing the ball.

"He definitely improves players' game intelligence when they work under him. You feel 10-feet tall and just know your job inside and out because of the way he prepares you."

Handpicked to introduce style and substance to the Socceroos in 2013, Postecoglou led Australia at the 2014 World Cup. Undaunted by the 'Group of Death', Australia left Brazil emptyhanded, but took it to Chile, the Netherlands and holders Spain in stunning fashion.

Postecoglou delivered a first Asian Cup to Australia in 2015, while he secured qualification for the 2018 World Cup before stepping down prior to the Russian showpiece.

The Socceroos scored 86 goals in A-Internationals under Postecoglou – the second most they have scored under any manager since the beginning of 1965 (Frank Farina - 197). Australia won 22 games during his tenure; only two managers have won more since the beginning of 1965 (Frank Farina - 34 and Holger Osieck - 23).

Postecoglou eventually landed at F.Marinos – part of the City Football Group – in 2018.

Physical performance coach Gregory King was part of the team Postecoglou put together to accompany him on his journey in Japan, where he ended F.Marinos' 15-year wait for league glory in 2019.

Postecoglou left F.Marinos with the highest winning percentage (49.2 – 58 victories in 118 games) in the history of the club. Since joining the Yokohama club, only two managers have a better winning percentage than Postecoglou; Toru Oniki (65) and Go Oiwa (50) from a minimum of 10 games.

Despite the language barrier, F.Marinos bought into the Postecoglou way. Since 2018, the team ranked first for passing accuracy (86.5) and possession (63.2), while they were second for goals per game (1.9), expected goals per game (1.8), shots per game (15.2), shots on target per game (5.3), shot conversion rate (12.6), shooting accuracy (47.2), chances created per game (11.4), passes per game (619.4), passing accuracy in opposition half (82.4), big chance total per game (2.4), big chance created per game (1.8) and big chance scored per game (1.1).

"He definitely has a really good understanding from conditioning, strength and sport-science point of view," King told Stats Perform. "His attention to detail is optimal. You know you can't pull the wool over his eyes. He knows everything going on within his team but he lets you run your own department. He gives you a license to achieve the objectives of the team in your own way."

During F.Marinos' triumphant season in 2019, Postecoglou's men covered the greatest distance in the J1 League (116.48), ahead of Oita Trinita (114.79km). They also tallied the most total sprints with 191, more than FC Tokyo (174).

As Postecoglou prepares to take pre-season training with Celtic, King said: "They're definitely in for a lot of hard work. Really quality football sessions based around the principles of how he wants to play. But, there's no holding back in terms of intensity.

"I think they will enjoy the sessions, however they will be pushed physically. The football we played in Yokohama was extremely high intensity. The physical qualities have to be at their peak. We expected our best players to play regularly, so to be able to do that, the players have to have a lot of good hard work behind them and to be able to cope with it."

"I'd be very surprised if he wasn't looking closely at injury history, how many games they've been able to play over the past seasons in terms of durability. Speed is obviously a massive factor from the forwards and also the centre-backs being able to play really aggressive and a high line. You can only do so much when you have them. We feel we can improve them all physically but from a conditioning point of view, you have to recruit players strong in those areas already to be able to play the way we did."

Australia sealed a perfect passage through to the 2022 World Cup third qualifying round thanks to Harry Souttar's header in Wednesday's 1-0 win over Jordan in Kuwait.

The Socceroos were already guaranteed top spot in Group B and made it eight wins from eight in qualifying for the first time ever with their three points at the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium.

Souttar's goal – the Stoke City defender's sixth in five internationals – ended Jordan's hopes of qualifying and that frustration told as Mousa Suleiman was shown a late red card.

Jordan had lost only one of their previous seven internationals but struggled to create any meaningful opportunities, which was also true of their opponents for large parts.

Trent Sainsbury sent an unmarked header just past the post and James Holland's strike soon after hit the upright as Australia's superiority slowly started to show.

And that pressure paid off as Souttar met Martin Boyle's inswinging corner to put his side on course for their first ever back-to-back victories against Jordan.

Tempers then flared in the 87th minute following Ehsan Manel Haddad's challenge on Aziz Behich, culminating in Suleiman being sent off for clashing heads with the Australia wing-back.

Australia made sure of their place in the third stage of Asia's 2022 World Cup qualifying format with a routine 3-0 victory over 10-man Nepal.

After resounding wins over hosts Kuwait and Chinese Taipai, boss Graham Arnold again rung the changes at Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium but it made little difference to the outcome.

Mathew Leckie, captain for the night, gave the Socceroos an early advantage and Fran Karacic's maiden international goal had doubled the lead by the time Rohit Chand was sent off for a professional foul on Martin Boyle before half-time.

Boyle completed the scoring, with a seventh consecutive win to wrap up top spot in Group B long beyond doubt before then.

It took Leckie only six minutes to find the breakthrough, meeting left-back Aziz Behich's cross with a powerful header.

Karacic enjoyed a moment to savour in the 38th minute after Leckie skipped past a desperate lunge from Suman Aryal and picked out the Brescia right-back to slot home.

Leckie was involved again shortly afterwards as Nepal's evening took another sour turn, releasing Boyle to be unceremoniously brought down by Chand, who gave the referee little option.

Boyle looked set to experience personal disappointment when he botched a free header early in the second half before slicing into the side netting. But a sublime curling cross from Hibernian team-mate Jackson Irvine in the 57th minute allowed the 28-year-old to tap in from close range.

Dan Christian has been added to Australia's preliminary squad for the white-ball tours of West Indies and Bangladesh along with uncapped pacemen Wes Agar and Nathan Ellis.

The selectors announced an initial party of 23 to face the Windies and the Tigers, featuring a number of players who played in an Indian Premier League that was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.

They have now added Christian, Agar, Ellis, Ben McDermott, Cameron Green and Ashton Turner.

All-rounder Christian, 38, and wicketkeeper-batsman McDermott will end spells in England with Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire respectively to fly home and complete the mandatory two-week quarantine period before the final squad's scheduled departure for the Caribbean late in June.

Christian has not played for his country since October 2017, while Agar and Ellis will be hoping to make their international debuts.

Promising all-rounder Green made his ODI bow against India last December, while Turner has featured in the 50-over format six times and played 11 Twenty20 Internationals.

Confirmation of the tours are subject to agreement on bio-security arrangements and relevant government approvals.

Mitch Duke scored twice as Australia closed in on a place in the third stage of World Cup qualifying with a 5-1 hammering of Chinese Taipei on Monday.

The Socceroos made it six wins out of six and within one victory of a guaranteed spot in the third phase of Asian qualifying at Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium in Kuwait, outclassing the team propping up Group B without a point to their name.

Harry Souttar and Jamie Maclaren each scored their fifth goals of the qualifying campaign and Trent Sainsbury added a third in the first half, with Duke claiming a second-half double either side of Gao Wei-Jie's surprise goal for Chinese Taipei.

Head coach Graham Arnold called on Australia to be more clinical after a 3-0 win over Kuwait and gave a completely different side the opportunity to capitalise on Chinese Taipei's defensive frailties.

Souttar opened the scoring by heading home Riley McGree's corner 11 minutes in and A-League Golden Boot winner Maclaren got in on the act from the penalty spot after he was upended by Chen Wei-chuan.

Sainsbury got on the end of another McGree corner to head in a third Australia goal late in a first half which also saw Brandon Borrello rattle the post from close range.

Borrello provided the cross for Duke to nod home 20 seconds into the second half before Gao scored only Chinese Taipei's third goal from seven group games with a clinical finish.

Duke had the final say, tucking into an empty net after being set up by Nikita Rukavytsya six minutes from time.

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